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Murano glass factories

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From: Murano, the Glass Island

Murano glass furnace

ABOVE: V.I.A.'s glass furnace on Murano. INSET BELOW: A factory showroom, the V.I.A. factory entrance, and a barge filled with waste glass.

Public factory visits

Murano glass showroomsThe most interesting glass factories and ateliers on Murano aren't open to visitors, for two reasons:

  • They're in the business of making glass, not entertaining tourists;

  • Master glass artisans have spent years refining their proprietary techniques and don't want competitors taking notes.

Still, as you walk around Murano, you're likely to find mass-market fornaci or furnaces that welcome tourists. The V.I.A. factory is a good example:

glass factory tour signFrom the Colonna waterbus stop, turn left as you exit the boat platform and walk along the water until you reach a "Fornace Glass" sign on a door below the Calle S. Cipriano street sign, pass beneath the entrance sign, follow the sidewalk, and enter the building to view a glassmaking demonstration for a small fee that can be credited against a purcase from the factory's shop.

The demonstration takes less than 10 minutes, but it's interesting if you haven't seen a glass furnace.

Tips for visiting:

  • Look for open factories on weekday mornings. Don't count on much action during the lunch hour (which can run from noon or 1 p.m. until mid-afternoon).

  • In Venice, you're likely to be approached by representatives of touristy factory showrooms that offer free boat trips to Murano. If you accept, be prepared for a high-pressure sales pitch. (We'd recommend getting to Murano by public transportation, which is quick, easy, and pressure-free.)

  • Murano waste glass for recyclingIf you're a serious glass collector or buyer, you may be able to visit some of the more artistic fornaci by appointment. we'd suggest making arrangements through a gallery, dealer, or decorator who has contacts in Murano.

  • To phone or correspond with workshops directly, buy Michela and Nicoló Scibilia's Comprehensive Guide to the Island of Murano (see Murano Tourist Information) and use the listings in its "Production" chapter as a starting point for your planning.

  • Glass factories are normally closed for maintenance during August, though a few tourist-oriented demonstration furnaces may stay open. (Check with the Venice tourist office during your visit.)

  • Due to a massive spike in the cost of natural gas, many of the island's furnaces have been shut down recently, and it's unclear how soon--if ever--all of the the dormant fornaci will be fired up again. This could make it harder to find glass factories that are offering public demonstrations.

Next page: Sightseeing on Murano

In this Murano travel guide:
Murano (introduction)
Glass museums
Glass factories
Sightseeing on Murano
Hotels, B&Bs, apts
Restaurants & cafés
Tourist information
Glass repair & mosaic courses
More Murano photos

Also see:
Venice Islands Tour (by public transportation)